New Innovators in Residence strive for artistic change within community

Innovator+in+Residence+James+Reeves+presents+to+The+Standard+staff+March+16.+Both+Reeves+and+Candy+Chang%2C+a+creative+duo+who+design+multi-disciplinary+artwork+around+the+world%2C+will+work+as+the+new+Innovators+in+Residence+at+ASL+for+six+weeks+from+February+break+to+Spring+break.+According+to+Chang%2C+they+want+to+spend+time+with+%E2%80%9Cvarious+classes+and+programs%E2%80%9D+to+unite+the+community.

Gabrielle Meidar

Innovator in Residence James Reeves presents to The Standard staff March 16. Both Reeves and Candy Chang, a creative duo who design multi-disciplinary artwork around the world, will work as the new Innovators in Residence at ASL for six weeks from February break to Spring break. According to Chang, they want to spend time with “various classes and programs” to unite the community.

Nassef Sawiris, Staff Writer

The new Innovators in Residence, Candy Chang and James Reeves, who assumed their roles March 8, introduced themselves to the High School student body by holding two assemblies – one for Grades 9 and 10 March 11 and another for Grades 11 and 12 March 15. 

According to Vica Sokoloff (’23), students learned about Chang’s and Reeves’ plan for their time at the school as well as their experience in the fields of art and education. 

Sokoloff said she hopes Chang and Reeves’ work will unite the community. 

“All their work is based on building a sense of community and better teamwork,” she said. “All of us will realize we have more in common than we think and that we’re not alone.”

In an email to the school community, Director of Student Life James Perry said the Innovator in Residence program aims to “elevate the level of education and experiential learning provided to our students through direct access to innovative and visionary leaders in a diverse range of fields.” 

Danny Smadi (’25) said he believes the Innovator in Residence program is influential to students.

MS World Languages and Cultures Teacher Melanie Manuel said after having worked with Chang and Reeves a few years ago in Philadelphia, “the things that they do would gel with what we do in school.”

In addition, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Jennifer Kirstein said she is looking forward to Chang’s and Reeves’ upcoming plans for the community.  

“Something that stood out to me about them is their focus on community,” she said. “And so ‘How can we bring communities together? How can we give individuals a voice within the community?’” 

Ultimately, Kirstein said both Chang and Reeves have “a whole range of skills that are unique” which can “really contribute to the school.” 

We want to be as transparent as possible with the process of this time pressure, which will make things interesting.”

— Innovator in Residence Candy Chang

“Candy has a background in urban planning and design while James has a background in education and also in graphic design.” she said. “They’ve also both worked in the music industry.”

Smadi said he appreciates that Chang and Reeves work together so they can divide their time with the student body.

“Part of the beauty of having two [Innovators in Residence] will hopefully mean that they can work with more of us,” he said. 

Further, Kirstein said because Chang and Reeves work together, they “bring really different perspectives” to the table.

Although both Chang and Reeves are spending only six weeks collaborating with members of the community, Chang said this will be a productive period of time.

“We are working with various classes and programs during this concentrated period of time,” she said. “We want to be as transparent as possible with the process of this time pressure, which will make things interesting.”

For example, Reeves said Chang and he plan on creating an art installation in the Coreen Hester Courtyard after “asking students about their dreams and getting more into that weird imagery – the subconscious and surreal part.” 

Participatory art is the idea of bringing in all voices in a public space to be heard without barriers which I think could motivate different types of students.”

— MS World Languages and Cultures Teacher Melanie Manuel

Manuel said she is looking forward to Chang and Reeves inspiring students to participate in expressive art. 

“I hope they explore conceptual art as a form of inclusion,” she said. “Participatory art is the idea of bringing in all voices in a public space to be heard without barriers which I think could motivate different types of students.”

Sokoloff said she is looking forward to engaging more with Chang and Reeves and learning about their artistic plans.

“I’m very excited to see the work in the Coreen Hester courtyard,” she said. “All of their projects are all very unique and, since they’re basing it on us, it will be really interesting to see how that project will reflect who we are as a community, and I’m sure it will bring a sense of belonging.”